It hardly seems possible that Pete Weber
, in his 35 years of PBA competition, had never won PBA Player of the Year recognition despite a Hall of Fame career that included 37 PBA Tour titles, a record-tying 10 majors including a record five U.S. Open titles, and nearly $4 million in career earnings, among his most notable complishments.
But during the 2015 PBA50 Tour campaign, at age 52 and in his third campaign with the 50-and-older generation, Weber finally had the breakthrough season he had pursued ever since earning PBA Rookie of the Year honors as an 18-year-old in 1980.
Thanks in part to his win in the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open, along with a runner-up finish in the USBC Masters, Weber dominated the PBA50 earnings, average and competition points standings to earn the 2015 PBA50 Player of the Year crown, the first PBA Player of the Year honor of his illustrious career.
“Marshall Holman wasn’t here to take it away from me,” Weber said kiddingly when referring to the 1987 Tour season when he finished second to Holman in PBA Player of the Year voting, the closest he had ever come to that goal.
In 1987, Holman earned the award based largely on seven championship round appearances including three runner-up finishes and leading in average and tournament points, but he didn’t win a title, while Weber won his first Tournament of Champions title and led in Tour earnings.
“It took me 35 years to do it, but I’ve got a Player of the Year title. PBA Tour or PBA50 Tour, I don’t care. I’ll take it,” said Weber, who will turn 53 on Friday (Aug. 21).
“I didn’t have a lot of wins this season, but I had a lot of top finishes and I did well in the (PBA50) majors, which was good enough to achieve another goal in my career.”
Weber’s Senior U.S. Open title win was the fourth PBA50 title of his career and his second major to go along with his USBC Senior Masters title in 2013.
With his Senior U.S. Open win he joined fellow Hall of Famer and 2014 Senior U.S. Open winner Norm Duke as the only players to win U.S. Open titles on both the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour.
During the 2015 season, Weber also finished second in the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Open and Johnny Petraglia BVL Open, and third in the PBA50 Miller High Life Classic. His seventh-place finish in the season-ending DeHayes Insurance Group Championship gave him enough competition points to secure PBA50 Player of the Year.
Weber led the season-long points list with 239,964 points. Second was 2015 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Mike Scroggins with 207,108. Scroggins was the season’s only three-time winner, winning the DeHayes Insurance Group Championship, Johnny Petraglia BVL Open and UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl In The Villages.
Weber also led the PBA50 Tour in average (227.82 for 327 games bowled), edging fellow Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III who ranked second bowling at a 227.54 scoring pace. Bohn was a two-time winner, capturing the season-opening Pasco County Open and the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Open.
Weber, who won the earnings title with $36,875 over runner-up Amleto Monacelli’s $33,675, tied with Scroggins with most championship round appearances (five) and tied with five other players with most match play appearances with nine.
Another player who had a hallmark season was Hall of Famer and four-time PBA50 Player of the Year Tom Baker (left) of King, N.C., who earned his first PBA60 Player of the Year award for players 60 and over. Baker had five top-10 finishes including a third-place finish in the UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl in The Villages and a fourth in the Miller High Life Classic.
The top eight players in competition points earned paid entries into the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII in Reno, Nev., in December along with berths in the PBA50 Challenge Finals qualifier which is part of WSOB VII.
The eight-game head-to-head match play qualifier will determine two finalists who will compete in the PBA50 title match which will be televised by ESPN on Jan. 24, 2016. The qualifiers are Weber, Scroggins, Bohn, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Monacelli, Brian LeClair, Jack Jurek and Bob Learn Jr.
The winner of the PBA50 Dick Weber Sportsmanship Award, selected by PBA50 Tour players, will be announced later.